The whole world seems to be in a race, with country after country competing against each other to be number one in some category. But, I can tell you right now that the U.S. seems to be winning in the legal controversy department.
From this election’s controversial candidates to the recent pro-life bill, the U.S. hasn’t gotten to relax from the downpour of criticisms and controversy the news has been blowing through the speakers. Don’t worry though, all this controversy won’t keep America from winning this race, and Maine is the new contender. Though, and this may be the first time I’ve said this, the current controversy in Maine is one of great change. Yes! The controversy made because of a good change in security, not because another politician is helping ISPs sell user data.
1. Limiting the Power of ISPs
The power and grasp of ISPs have been a hot-button topic in the U.S. ISPs have been guilty of betraying consumer’s trust, such as when they sell their data without permission or store data without outlying it in the terms first. And while the U.S. government has been nothing but happy about letting ISPs gather data, Governor of Maine Janet Mills has taken a step in the opposing direction.
This new privacy bill outlines the terms for which an ISP can sell or hand out consumer’s data. The biggest change in this bill is definitely how ISPs must receive consumer data. Now, ISPs must ask and let users opt in to their data being stored or sold.
Along with this, the bill also outlaws the refusal to serve a citizen or offering discounts to one in order to pressure the citizen into opting into data collection. Seems that Mills has thought of all the loopholes!
2. A Step In The Right Direction
Maine is the second state to do this, following California’s example of having their own privacy laws. And while California’s law also directs itself toward tech companies, Maine’s bill separates itself by requiring an opt-in to collect data.
With California and Maine taking care of their citizen’s privacy, this can only a be good thing for the rest of the country as other states take notice of the positive effects this brings. Though, there is no doubt that some politicians that align themselves with ISPs will have problems with these bills and will have no problem challenging these in court.
No matter the cons of these decisions, this does set a good precedent for the future of consumer rights when it comes to the Internet.
And Janet Mills isn’t even close to done yet. She commented that she plans to introduce a bill that will also target tech giant such as Google or Microsoft in the future, another important target in the privacy war.
3. The Challenges These Bills Face
As I said earlier, there will be opponents to these bills, that much is clear. Right now, the biggest opponent of these bills is the Republican party. According to a few representatives, the Republican party would prefer that a federal privacy law trump the state laws, as to avoid confusion over multiple laws. At the same time, a lot of lobbyists for ISPs tend to be in the Republican party, so it’s easy to take all this with a grain of salt.
However, support for privacy on the Internet has become increasingly bipartisan as of late, and this can be chalked up to politicians becoming increasingly aware of how the Internet works. Let’s be real, I bet a lot of them in Capitol Hill still couldn’t tell you what a VPN is. And that’s fine, but when a citizen’s security and privacy counts on a few people’s knowledge of the issue, they need to be informed. Hopefully, politicians like Janet Mills get the country to see that truth a bit more clearly.